Like most summer days in Palm Springs it was a scorcher. We were at Splash House, where the scantily-clad bodies gathered to dance to Nora en Pure‘s melodic house. Her set was at once hypnotizing and upbeat.
Afterwards, the charming, Swiss DJ/producer was kind enough to sit down with us at EDMLA and our new friends at Feel Good Radio for a conversation about her South African influences, the differences between the US and Euro dance scenes, and the advise she has for other female producers and up-and-coming artists.
Feel Good Radio: You just got off the stage here at Splash House! Amazing set.
Nora: Thank you.
FGR: What were your thoughts up there? The sun was hitting you for a while there directly in the face…
It was beautiful. I love this time. I often play around sunset and it feels like that’s my time and my music fits perfectly.
FGR: So you were born in South Africa and then when did you leave?
Very early. I was only 4 years old. My mom is South African and my dad is Swiss so we moved to Switzerland, but we kept going back because I missed it a lot. We’d spend about 2 months out of each year there.
FGR: And what city? Johannesburg?
Yes, however, most of my time was spent in the wildlife areas.
FGR: And so right now home is Switzerland.
Yeah, Im based in Zurich, but I would still consider South Africa my real Home.
EDMLA: How does the African influence show up in your music?
I think [it does] a lot because you can hear those exotic vibes. In general, I try to take you away from where you are. That flute, for example, is a bit more Brazilian style. I always imagine a place when I create a song. Especially in the breaks you can feel that. I try to create a certain atmosphere.
FGR: And you actually play the flute.
Yes, I do! I grew up playing the flute for quite some years.
FGR: Did you hate it when you were young?
Of course! Completely! My parents forced me to but now I got through that stage.
EDMLA: So what’s the biggest difference between playing shows in the states and shows abroad?
There’s a huge difference. Like here, they want more energy. They like to party. When I get back to Europe, I have my sets prepared and realize I can’t play that way because they’re much more chill and relaxed and for them that’s too fast. For me it’s very nice to play here because the atmosphere is great and the energy is always quite high. I enjoy that.
EDMLA: Is there much of the dance scene in Switzerland?
Not really. People go out to be seen. I play about twice a year in Switzerland. I play everywhere else, but I almost never play there.
EDMLA: How did you make that your home base?
It’s because my dad is Swiss and we moved there early on and I went to school there. Close to the airport in Zürich, there are the studios and my management and everything. Now I’m living five minutes from the airport so it’s quite convenient.
FGR: You played a track today on stage — it was a remix of Nirvana. Can you talk a bit about that?
It’s always something between making yourself and the crowd happy. Nirvana is actually one of my absolute favorite bands ever. I just found that track today and wanted to hear it live.
FGR: …and the crowd went crazy for it. I think it was because of the unexpectedness.
Yeah, you have to mix up the whole set a little bit in order to catch people again. To have them captivated and with you.
EDMLA: What advice do you have for other women trying to make it in dance music?
I would say just to take it really seriously. If you’re passionate about it, there’s not much standing in your way. Of course, I would never recommend — like some female DJs — they go playing almost naked. That doesn’t help you to be a credible artist. You should convince with your music and not with your looks.
Otherwise, these days almost anyone can become a DJ. I think just try, be passionate and give everything. The chances are quite high you’ll get somewhere.
FGR: The electronic music industry is still very male dominant and I think often times there is a lack of female mentors. Have there been any female artists that have reached out to you for advice?
Yeah, mostly at the shows, there have been those occasions.
In producing I have had mentors and management that guided me a lot. Otherwise I just play what I like and if I notice that people don’t like it at all then I adapt to it because in the end you’re playing for them and not for yourself.
Also you can learn everything from the internet, it’s so easy these days.
FGR: What’s been the biggest hurdle for you getting into this industry?
I think to stick to myself and what I like and not copy others. There’s enough of the others but the difficult part is how do you create your own thing in this world where there’s everything already?
It’s the most difficult but if you get your own thing down, people will appreciate and recognize you for it.
FGR: In terms of your fan base, is there anything that you do to stay in touch with your fans and continue to build that relationship and dialogue?
Since the melodic and deep house got more popular it has been a bit easier. You do have to stick to your own signature sound, but not always do the same thing. You have to pick up new trends very quickly to be able to be in front of them and not behind.
FGR: So what’s next for you musically?
There have been many releases recently. I had the EP two months ago, Into the Wild and luckily everyone loves it a lot. I was curious about that one because I tried some new things and I’ve gotten very good feed back so I’m happy for that.
I had a collab with Sons of Maria — “Cotton Fields”. I played it today. It’s a bit more chill, but I love it. It’s also very exotic.
There are a couple of remixes coming out. One from Rüfüs, the Australian band and another remix with Oliver Heldens. I’m excited about that one, I like it very much. I don’t know when it’s coming out but it should be soon.
FGR: Any last things to let people know what’s going on in your world?
I’m coming here much more often. Like this month I’m flying back-and-forth three times. At the end of the month, I’m in California again. I’m excited that people here like my sound so much and am grateful for all the support. I hope it can continue this way.
Thank you so much, Nora en Pure for speaking with us!